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Jewish forms of speech. In Leviticus xiii. 3, the original Hebrew says, “And the priest shall look on him [the leper], and pollute him;" which our translation renders “ pronounce him unclean;" and in verse 23, when the leper is healed, the original Hebrew says, “ And the priest shall cleanse him," which our translation renders “shall pronounce him clean.” Thus, in the accustomed phraseology of the language, to “pollute him," signified “to declare him polluted;" and to “cleanse him," signified “to declare him clean." Let this idiom be applied to the words in our text. 66 Whatsoever thou shalt bind,” i. e. whatsoever thou shalt declare to be bound; " whatsoever thou shalt loose,” i. e. whatsoever thou shalt declare to be loosed.” The words “ binding” and “loosing” were in constant use among the Jews to signify “ forbidding” or “permitting.” They are to be found, with this acceptation, times without number, in the Mishna, or collection of traditions, already spoken of; and from thence are commonly used by the later Rabbis. In these places, “ binding.” always means a declaration that anything was unlawful to be done, and “ loosing” always means a declaration that anything may lawfully be done. This was the common language of the Jews, at the time when the Master uttered these promises to Peter. Jesus spoke to him in a language with which he and his brother Apostles were familiar from their childhood, and which they must necessarily have understood in its ordinary signification. Such language being, at this distance of time, a little difficult of comprehension to us, is no valid ground for concluding that it was at all difficult of comprehension to them. They, as well as Peter, were no doubt certain that this power committed to the latter, of “ binding and loosing,” was simply a power of declaring what things
s bound,” or not to be done, and what things were “ loosed," or might be done, under the Gospel dispensation. In thus addressing his followers, Jesus, as in the case of “the keys," alluded to the practice of the Jews when they set any person apart to the office of religious instructor: on such occasions, they used the words, “ Take thou liberty to teach what is bound, and what is loose." In the Acts of the Apostles, occur some instances of this " binding and loosing," or declaring what was lawful and what unlawful. Thus, the Apostles “bound,” or forbade, circumcision to the Jewish converts, and eating of meat offered to idols to the Gentile converts. Thus, they “loosed,” or permitted, purifications after the Mosaic form, to Paul and four of his companions. It is also said, “Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, shall be loosed in heaven." This is but expressing, in other words, that Peter had authority from on high for everything which he enjoined or permitted. This was necessarily the case, not only with him, but (as will appear in Chapter xviii.) with all the Apostles; for, first, they were instructed personally by Jesus as to what was right and what was wrong; and, secondly, they were guided, or rather overruled, by the Spirit, in their various teachings. In this, the obvious sense of the passage, every Christian minister, who takes the New Testament for his guide, may say,
66 Whatsoever I loose and bind on earth, is loosed and bound in heaven;" whatever I, from the express and unequivocal declarations of the Gospel, declare to be lawful or unlawful, has with it the weight of Divine authority; for the Gospel came from God. To recapitulate what has been written:
-To Peter alone, on account of his confession of the Messiahship of Jesus, was committed “the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” the honour of being the first to open, both to Jews and Gentiles, the gate of admission to Gospel privileges. To him, and to all the Apostles, (Matt. xviii. 18, was committed the power of “ binding and loosing," of declaring what was permitted and what forbidden, what was lawful and what unlawful, what was right and what was wrong, under the Christian revelation.
Verses 21-23: “From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto tbee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not of the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”. Although this occurrence has already been noticed incidentally (see on Chap. iv. 10), it seems to merit additional attention. Jesus was detailing unto bis Apostles, the many sufferings which should be crowded into the closing scene of his ministry. They listened to his recital with emotions of regret and sympathy; till at length Peter, the boldest of the twelve, “ took him up,” [or interrupted him,] “and rebuked,” [or remonstrated with him,] “saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:” (take pity on thyself, Sir; avoid these calamities; or, God be merciful to thee; God defend thee from them.] This conduct of Peter was prompted by the fervour of his attachment to Jesus, and by his anxiety that these calamities should not befall him; it was prompted by kind but perhaps mistaken friendship. What was the answer of Jesus to this display of earnest solicitude ? 6 Get thee behind me, Satan." Get thee behind me, Devil. Who would have expected such an answer from the considerate and compassionating Master? It exbibits a severity of rebuke, and a harshness of phraseology, which were alien from the character of the Saviour. All this discrepancy will be removed by remembering what is the actual meaning of the word “ Satan.” It originally signified an adversary; one who opposed us in any design, good or bad, in which we were engaged. It is applied not only to men, but to the angels of God. The following instances of this application, are cited in addition to those from 1 Kings xi. 14, 23, and 25, given in a former part of this Exposition. The title “Satan,” is given to men in the Old Testament. Thus, in 1 Samuel xxix. 4, the princes of the Philistines say,
6 Let him (David] not go down with us to battle, lest in the battle he be an adversary (or Satan) to us.” Then, in 2 Sam. xix. 22, David says, “What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah, that ye should this day be adversaries (or Satans) unto me?” Thus, in 1 Kings v. 4, Solomon says to King Hiram of Tyre, “ But now, Jehovah my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary (Satan) nor evil occurrent.” The title “ Satan ” is also given to good angels, messengers of God, both in the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Thus, in Numbers xxii. 22: “God's anger was kindled against him [ Balaam] because he went; and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary (or Satan) against him.” And in the 32d verse of the same chapter, the angel is represented as saying, “ I went out to withstand thee;" which is, in the original, “ to be a Satan unto thee.”
In 2 Corinthians xii. 7, Paul says, « Lest I should be exalted above measure, through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me 'a thorn in the flesh, [some bodily disease which detracted from the perfectness of his elocution or the gracefulness of his gesture, probably a paralytic affection,] the messenger of Satans to buffet me.” When our received version says “ the messenger of Satan,” the Greek means “ an angel Satan,” a messenger of God, which was an adversary to Paul in his boasting. From all these examples, it appears that “Satan” is perfectly synonymous with “ adversary,” and was applied equally to angelic or human beings, who were opposed to our present designs, be these designs good or evil. The abiding knowledge of this fact, removes the harshness from the reply of Jesus to the affectionate remonstrance of Peter: “ Get thee behind me, thou adversary;" thou who unwittingly opposest my designs after the salvation of mankind; " thou savourest more of the things that be of men, than of those that be of God;" thou wouldst rather have me spared the coming sorrow, and ever present in thy society, than doing that.good for the whole human race, which as yet thou comprehendest not.
Verses 27, 28: “ For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of his Father with bis angels; and then shall he reward every man according to his works. Verily, I say unto you, there be some standing here which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” Insuperable difficulties encompass this passage, if we refer it, as is generally done, to the last day and the final judgment. One is so strong, as completely to overthrow that explanation. Jesus had prophesied that the occurrence of wbich he spake, should happen during the life-time of some of his auditors. Now, the Apostles and primitive disciples are dead and buried for eighteen centuries, and the final judgment has pre
not yet arrived. We are disposed to interpret this diction of the triumph of Christianity over Judaism, through the overthrow of the Jewish temple-worship by the conquest of Jerusalem. The “coming of the Son of Man with his angels,” means the spread of the Gospel through all the nations of the earth, consequent on the dispersion of the Christians who fled from Jerusalem during the siege. These are the “angels,” or messengers of Jesus; and he, or his Gospel, is said to come “ in the glory of the Father," because the Gospel had its origin with the Father, because the preaching of the Apostles was accompanied by_the blessing of the Father, or by the “ spirit » of the Father enabling them to perform miracles, and imparting to them a more than human eloquence. When the Jewish system of ecclesiastical polity was overthrown by the destruction of the temple by Titus, then Christianity achieved a triumph, and was erected on the ruins of the Mosaic economy. This victory was the “coming of Christ to his kingdom:" henceforth he may be said to rule over the whole world; for numbers in every country of the ancient world speedily embraced the Gospel. This event was accomplished before some then 'standing around Jesus tasted of death; for the capture of Jerusalem, the destruction of the temple, the eradication of the Jewish polity, the triumph of the Christian faith, took place about fortythree years posterior to the time at which the Master addressed these words to his followers. Of the Apostles, John at least is admitted to have survived even beyond the period of these catastrophies. May not the question of Jesus to Peter, (John xxi. 22)—" If I will that he [John] tarry till I come, what is that to thee?”_have a predictive reference to this fact?
THE MISSING STEAMER.
Lest all beside prove vain.
Nor may return again